While mobile esports havenât yet fully taken off in the west, theyâve ballooned in popularity in regions like China, India and Southeast Asia over the past few years.
Following in the footsteps of Clash Royale and Arena of Valor, PUBG Mobile is on the rise as one of the next huge mobile esport contenders - with their PUBG Mobile World League Season Zero, which concluded last month, breaking records to achieve a peak concurrent audience of 1.1 million with over 40 million total hours watched.
Following their biggest tournament success, theyâre now shooting bigger with their newly announced PUBG Mobile Global Championship - which merges the Global League and World Championship into one event and boasts a $2 million prize pool.
The announcement of the Global Championship, which starts in November, coincides with a 1.0 update for the title too - bringing in better visuals, an overhauled interface and quality-of-life features which hope to make PUBG Mobile more appealing for a wider audience.
Top Esport, from China, won last year's PUBG Mobile Club Open (Picture: PUBG Mobile)
While the game has a competitive presence in western territories, with Spanish teams like UDR Killers, the scene is dominated by rosters from India, Indonesia and China. James Yang, director of PUBG Mobile Global Esports, however is looking to make growth in western territories a priority in the years to come.
âWe want to make this ecosystem pyramid in other countries with our learning from eastern countries,â James Yang told GINX Esports TV in a press conference. âThatâs something we want to do but we also know it takes time.
âEspecially Europe, North Americaâ¦ they still, I think, need time to get used to mobile esports or even PUBG Mobile. So weâll continue to push, weâll continue to invest to make our own ecosystem in their countries. Thatâs absolutely an important mission for long term.â
The new Global Championship will start in November (Picture: PUBG Mobile)
Their bigger mission is to go beyond whatâs expected from mobile esports, rubbing shoulders with titans League of Legends, CS:GO and Dota 2 to break down the label.
âThis year our teams has had some discussions of our long-term goals. We make plans for three, five years and we decided to become a tier 1 esport. Not just the number one mobile esport, but already we want to escape from the limitations as a mobile esport.â
Citing League of Legends and CS:GO specifically, Yang added: âWe want to be there. We want to compete with them. We want to go shoulder-to-shoulder with them, or even bigger - and I donât think thatâs impossible.
âThat is quite challenging but thatâs what weâre trying to be. Weâre aiming to be not only number mobile esport, but we want to be even maybe number one esports game in the world. Some people say thatâs a dream, but actually looking what weâve done so far for the [past] three years, some people may think itâs not only a dream.â
Last year, over 100 million people watched the League of Legends World Championship, with 44 million alone tuning into the final. CS:GO meanwhile has achieved new peak monthly active users in 2020 at 20 million players, seven years after release.
But could PUBG Mobile hit such lofty heights? With a stronger foothold in the west, they might be earning more than chicken dinners in the future.
PUBG Mobileâs 1.0 update will launch 8th September, while the Global Championship Season Zero begins in late November 2020.